Exclusive:Scottish Government fury as UK-wide Deposit Return Scheme is pushed back to 2027

The UK government is set to push back Britain’s deposit return scheme to 2027.

Green minister Lorna Slater has expressed her “deep concerns” at Tory ministers suggesting a UK-wide deposit return scheme (DRS) will now be delayed by two years until at least 2027 – accusing the UK government of “creating speculation without consultation” with devolved nations.

Ms Slater, who was forced to delay her controversial Scottish DRS in favour of a UK-wide scheme, has told the UK Environment Secretary Steve Barclay that it is “extremely frustrating to hear about details of a further significant delay” to the policy.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The row comes after Mr Barclay told MPs that a 2027 deadline for introducing a UK-wide scheme is “probably more likely”, warning the 2025 original pledge is not realistic.

Ms Slater was forced to cancel her government’s troubled deposit return scheme after the UK Government refused to grant an exemption in the controversial Internal Market Act for glass to be included. Instead, Ms Slater agreed the only way forward was a UK-wide scheme that was due to roll out in October 2025.

In a letter to Mr Barclay, seen by The Scotsman, Ms Slater said: “We have said from day one that we we’re committed to all schemes across the UK to work together. We designed our scheme in good faith so it would be interoperable with the proposals agreed and consulted upon by all UK nations.

"I would ask that you focus on working with all devolved nations to finalise an interoperable DRS, which still recognises the devolved nature of this policy, to provide businesses with the certainty they need to make the scheme a success. This includes setting out a realistic timescale for delivery which is agreed across the four nations, rather than creating speculation without consultation.”

A Scottish Government source said that the Welsh Government has been left “fizzing” by the lack of progress in four nations talks on the policy.

Another Scottish Government source told The Scotsman that the UK government’s “central argument” was a “UK-wide scheme”, adding that there “has been no progress on that”. They added that “the onus was very much on them to make that progress” and that the “Scottish and Welsh government have worked constructively with them to do so”.

The source said: “It becomes even more clearer that their decision last year was about politics and they never had an intention to do a DRS scheme. It’s now going to fall on who the next UK government is. It is incredibly frustrating.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We are pushing ahead with our programme of reforms to reduce waste and improve our use of resources and remain committed to our goal of eliminating avoidable waste by 2050.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s essential that we work closely with industry to make sure our reforms will be a success, and we will continue to engage with businesses closely as we proceed with introducing the deposit return scheme.

"We are taking industry views into account and working closely with the devolved administrations and will share updates in due course. Once we have completed negotiations with the devolved administrations we will proceed to laying the necessary regulations.”



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.